Classics & American Government
CLST-370-401, Cross Listed with: GAFL-570-401
MW 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
John J. Mulhern
BFS Sector II
This course focuses mainly but not exclusively on the education of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, and its influence on his understanding of government. It begins with a review of the classical works that Madison actually read, drawing on reports of Madison’s early education at home and on records of his activity at the Robertson School in Virginia as well as on what we know of his collegiate education at Princeton, so that students have an opportunity to relive Madison’s classical educational experience. The classical works will be read in translation by the students, though the professor will be prepared to comment on the Greek and Latin texts for those who have an interest.
The course goes on to trace the influence of this education in Madison’s conception of the history of government and in his explanation of the American situation before, during, and after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. It also covers scholarship on the influence of classical education on others of the American founders, including the antifederalists and Jefferson.